What Happens if I Fail NCLEX?

Imagine: you’ve gone through nursing school, studied for weeks or even months to take the NCLEX, and you left the exam room feeling confident; when you get the results back, it says in bolded letters “Failed.” This is the harsh reality that nurses can face when taking the exam. It can leave you questioning the decision to even become a nurse, and it can rattle your confidence. Fortunately, if you fail the NCLEX it is far from the end of you career. There are a variety of reasons that would cause someone to fail the NCLEX, but it does NOT mean you are not more than qualified to be a nurse. Plenty of people who fail taking the exam end up have long and successful careers as an RN. My grandma failed her first time taking the exam, and she was a truly empathetic and wonderful nurse that was praised by her colleagues. RN Staffing USA is here to talk about what would happen, though, to prepare you for the possibility of failing the exam.

Retaking the NCLEX

Failing an exam is always a possibility. The NCLEX is no exception. According to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), participants who do not pass the exam will receive what is called a Candidate Performance Report (CPR). The CPR will break down how you did in specific areas of the exam. This will be useful for you because it will help you to target what you need to study for the next test. Also, since you’ve taken it once you will be better equipped to take it in the future because you will know what to expect.

Steps to Retaking:

  • If you fail, the first step to retaking the exam is contacting your Nursing Regulatory Body to notify them that you would like to retake the exam. They will help guide you regarding fees and documents that will need to be submitted before taking the exam again.
  • Secondly, you will have to re-register for the exam and pay the fee. You will then wait for your new ATT number.
  • Once you have the ATT number it is time to schedule your next exam!

The ATT, or Authorization to Test number, is the number you will receive after the NRB says you are eligible to take the exam. This number will be needed for the exam every time you schedule to take it. The ATT number will only be valid for a specified amount of time, so please be mindful of your scheduling window. It is also a policy by the NCSBN that you must wait 45 days between your failed test to retake the exam. This will be a good time to refocus your efforts on your weaker areas. Anyone who fails can take the NCLEX up to eight times a year as long as they wait the 45-day window between exams. Throughout the process, it is important to reach out to the NRB or NCSBN with any questions. Nursing is such a necessary profession that everyone wants to support you on your path to passing the NCLEX.

Fast Forward

If you choose to come work in the US, someday you won’t even remember how many questions you had on the exam or that you wore your lucky sweatshirt, because you will be fulfilling your dreams of working in the states. Hopefully, you won’t need this post, and you will look back and think “I don’t know why I was so worried about taking that exam.” However, this is a real possibility, and it is better to be prepared than the alternative. Whatever happens after the exam, just remember thousands of nurses before you have taken this exam, and others have failed and retaken it as well. You are not alone and have people (the whole team at RN Staffing USA) rooting for you!